« НазадПродовжити »
articles from Great Britain, they will inform the world that the Spectator's mouth is to be opened on the twenty-fifth of March next. I may perhaps publish a very useful paper at that time of the proceedings in that solemnity, and of the persons who shall assist at it. But of this, more hereafter.-O.
No. 10. Great success of the Spectator'; its large circulation ;
what sort of persons ought to read it; it is especially recommended to female readers.
Non aliter quam qui adverso vix flumine lembum
Virg. Georg. 1. 201.
It is with much satisfaction that I hear this great city inquiring, day by day, after these my papers, and receiving my morning lectures with a becoming seriousness and attention. My publisher tells me that there are already three thousand of them distributed every day, so that if I allow twenty readers to every paper, which I look upon as a modest computation, I may reckon about threescore thousand disciples in London and Westminster, who I hope will take care to distinguish themselves from the
thoughtless herd of their ignorant and unattentive brethren. 10 Since I have raised to myself so great an audience, I shall spare
no pains to make their instruction agreeable, and their diversion useful. For which reasons I shall endeavour to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality, that my
readers may, if possible, both ways find their account in the speculation of the day. And to the end that their virtue and discretion may not be short, transient, intermitting starts of thought, I have resolved to refresh their memories from day to day, till I have recovered them out of that desperate state of vice and folly into which the age is fallen. The mind that lies fallow but a single day, sprouts up in follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous culture. It was said of Socrates that he brought philosophy down from heaven, to inhabit among men; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have brought philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables, and in coffee-houses.
I would, therefore, in a very particular manner, recommend these my speculations to all well-regulated families, that set apart 10 an hour in every morning for tea and bread and butter; and
would earnestly advise them for their good, to order this paper to be punctually served up, and to be looked upon as a part of the tea-equipage.
Sir Francis Bacon observes, that a well written book, compared with its rivals and antagonists, is like Moses's serpent, that immediately swallowed up and devoured those of the Egyptians n. I shall not be so vain as to think, that where the SPECTATOR appears, the other public prints will vanish; but shall leave it to
my reader's consideration, whether it is not much better to be 20 let into the knowledge of one's self, than to hear what passes in
Muscovy or Poland; and to amuse ourselves with such writings as tend to the wearing out of ignorance, passion, and prejudice, than such as naturally conduce to inflame hatreds, and make enmities irreconcileable.
In the next place, I would recommend this paper to the daily perusal of those gentlemen whom I cannot but consider as my good brothers and allies, I mean the fraternity of spectators, who live in the world without having anything to do in it; and either
by the affluence of their fortunes, or laziness of their dispositions, 30 have no other business with the rest of mankind but to look
upon them. Under this class of men are comprehended all contemplative tradesmen, titular physicians, fellows of the Royal Society, Templars that are not given to be contentious, and statesmen that are out of business; in short, every one that considers the world as a theatre, and desires to form a right judgment of those who are the actors on it.
There is another set of men that I must likewise lay a claim to, whom I have lately called the blanks of society, as being
altogether unfurnished with ideas, till the business and conver40 sation of the day has supplied them. I have often considered
READ THE SPECTATOR !
these poor souls with an eye of great commiseration, when I have heard them asking the first man they have met with, whether there was any news stirring ? and, by that means, gathering together materials for thinking. These needy persons do not know what to talk of till about twelve o'clock in the morning; for, by that time, they are pretty good judges of the weather, know which way the wind sits, and whether the Dutch mail be come in. As they lie at the mercy of the first man
they meet, and are grave or impertinent all the day long, accord10 ing to the notions which they have imbibed in the morning, I
would earnestly intreat them not to stir out of their chambers till they have read this paper, and do promise them that I will daily instil into them such sound and wholesome sentiments, as shall have a good effect on their conversation for the ensuing twelve hours.
But there are none to whom this paper will be more useful than to the female world. I have often thought there has not been sufficient pains taken in finding out proper employments
and diversions for the fair ones. Their amusements seem con20 trived for them, rather as they are women, than as they are
reasonable creatures, and are more adapted to the sex than to the species. The toilet is their great scene of business, and the right adjusting of their hair the principal employment of their lives. The sorting of a suit of ribbons is reckoned a very good morning's work; and if they make an excursion to a mercer's or a toy-shop, so great a fatigue makes them unfit for anything else all the day after, Their more serious occupations are sewing and embroidery, and their greatest drudgery the preparation of jellies
and sweet-meats. This, I say, is the state of ordinary women; 30 though I know there are multitudes of those of a more elevated
life and conversation, that move in an exalted sphere of knowledge and virtue, that join all the beauties of the mind to the ornaments of dress, and inspire a kind of awe and respect, as well as love, into their male beholders. I hope to increase the number of these by publishing this daily paper, which I shall always endeavour to make an innocent, if not an improving entertainment, and by that means at least divert the minds of my female readers from greater trifles. At the same time, as I would fain
give some finishing touches to those which are already the most 40 beautiful pieces of human nature, I shall endeavour to point out all those imperfections that are the blemishes, as well as those virtues which are the embellishments of the sex. In the meanwhile I hope these my gentle readers, who have so much time on their hands, will not grudge throwing away a quarter of an hour in a day on this paper, since they may do it without any hindrance to business.
I know several of my friends and well-wishers are in great pain for me, lest I should not be able to keep up the spirit of
a paper which I oblige myself to furnish every day: but to make 10 them easy in this particular, I will promise them faithfully to give
it over as soon as I grow dull. This I know will be matter of great raillery to the small wits; who will frequently put me in mind of my promise, desire me to keep my word, assure me that it is high time to give over, with many other little pleasantries of the like nature, which men of a little smart genius cannot forbear throwing out against their best friends, when they have such a handle given them of being witty. But let them remember that I do hereby enter my caveat against this piece of raillery.-C.
No. 46. The Spectator drops a paper of hints, or rough notes, intended
to aid in the composition of essays; amusing consequences of the
Ovid. Met. I. 9.
I take the first opportunity of setting down an hint of it upon paper. At the same time I look into the letters of my correspondents, and if I find anything suggested in them that may afford matter of speculation, I likewise enter a minute of it in my collection of materials. By this means I frequently carry about me a whole sheetful of hints, that would look like a rhapsody of nonsense to anybody but myself: there is nothing in them but obscurity and confusion, raving and inconsistency. In
short, they are my speculations in the first principles, that (like 30 the world in its chaos) are void of all light, distinction, and